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What Nightmare Moon ACTUALLY did to Equestria? (except for what she did to only Celestia)


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In 「Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?」 Luna says she felt guilty for all the evil she caused as Nightmare Moon. But we saw her only turning into Nightmare Moon for 5 minutes actually. She might have just felt extra guilty, but for her to make the Tantabus seems a little excessive. My headcanon explaining that is this.

  1. Luna did something bad more than just five minutes as Nightmare Moon. Even before the final transformation into Nightmare Moon, she slowly turned evil inside. So she did all kinds of stuff and ruled the dream realm as a tyrant, making her fantasies happen. (The Shadowbolts are the creation of her dreams, the result of jealousy of her sister's power.) Ponies suffered from that, but didn't quite understood the deep subconscious changes and the dream realm itself when they were awake, neither did Celestia. So everybody except Luna didn't quite noticed something's been going wrong for a long time.
  2. Ponies being afraid of the Everfree Forest is the cause of Luna turning evil. When ponies are optimistic and happy, they aren't easily frightened. But when they somehow gets mentally fragile and absorbs negative influences, they get easily frightened and hurt just by simple dark woods. Everfree Forest is a representation and incarnation of Ponyville ponies collective deep fear. And it kept growing.
  3. Throughout 1000 years of Luna's banishment, ponies didn't had a guide and a protector for the dream realm. They could easily get hurt in there. That also contributed to their growth of fear toward strangers and strange places. That's why ponies showed such an irrational anxiety towards Zecora. (Zecora isn't a subject of Celestia or Luna so she isn't afraid of Everfree Forest.)
  4. The monsters of Everfree Forest are also caused by Luna. They are materialized by her dark energy getting stronger every day. If Nightmare Moon have reigned long enough, there would be all kinds of more horrible creatures roaming among Equestria.
  5. Luna also disrupted the harmony. (practically and literally)
  6. Luna's fall and banishment impacted not only Equestria, but also all the adjacent realms as well. That's why Dragons and Griffons, Hippogriffs (even crystal ponies) slowly declined. (even they had a more direct reasons like King Sombra, The Storm King or the Arimaspi, the broader picture was the imbalance between the light and the dark, yin and yang.) Only Equestria was OK due to Celestia's extra devotion.
  7. Starlight's village disconnected themselves from the dream realm to avoid nightmares from the dangerous dream realm. (You can't have a nightmare If you never dream) That was also somehow connected to how they denied pony natures like the cutie marks. Therefore, Luna or Celestia couldn't help them or find them when they put themselves into misery even after the return of Luna. (Luna could have easily helped Sugar Belle or Starlight in their dreams if they ever dreamed) It's like how Dark Templars disconnected their minds from the whole Protoss kind in Starcraft. Eventually, The Elements of Harmony fixed all of those above.

What do you think? What's your ideas of how Nightmare Moon affected Equestria? I'd like to know.

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2 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Starlight's village disconnected themselves from the dream realm to avoid nightmares from the dangerous dream realm. (You can't have a nightmare If you never dream)

Gonna stop you there, Starlight created her village long after Nightmare Moon got banished so that isn't the reason. They also specifically says that the reason Starlight created her village was to create a community without cutie marks. The whole "You can't have a nightmare If you never dream" line is just a metaphor. 

2 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

So she did all kinds of stuff and ruled the dream realm as a tyrant, making her fantasies happen. 

But according to the comics, she couldn't enter other's dreams until after she was banished to the moon. 

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There's the fact that she straight up tried to kill her own sister as NMM. There's comic instances, which depict her purposely spreading seeds of doubt and fear of Celestia in the minds of her subjects while she was banished on the moon. She enslaved and manipulated the Nyx, which she got her dream abilities from. She put Equestria in peril for 1000 years by making the EoH unable to be used in unison with Celestia, and new bearers needing to be found. There's a lot that she did that warrants Luna to have such guilt.

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1. I think you're right that there was more to it than just a 5 minute scene, and misuse of the dream realm is a very valid possibility. Perhaps allowing it to become a place of terror for her subjects would act as a means to keep them awake and enjoy her night, but it would devolve into a form or revenge.

2. Luna has nothing to do with the Everfree Forest. Ponies like people, fear that which they don't understand and can't control. The Everfree is one of the few places in equestria that is wild and untamed. It's completely understandable why so few would venture into it up until recently.

3. Zecora isn't afraid of the Everfree because she understands it. Not being accepted in Ponyville initially might have been a cause of that. She didn't know what there was to fear, therefore she had none upon entering. After some time she learned what to avoid and thus became rather comfortable. It's the same reason why Applebloom wasn't afraid to go in. There is no connection between the dream realm and the Everfree Forest.

4. No.

5. Yes, but not necessarily by intention, more as an afterthought to more pressing matters on her part.

6. More likely that the decline of other creatures and nations was the result of Equestria's ever growing competitive superiority, and not having the means to recover. Remember, ponies love friendship between ponies. Friendship with non-ponies is quite recent.

7. No.

Luna may have done some pretty terrible things in addition to jeopardizing the safety and well being of her subjects. Her guilt is technically well merited, but it's frustrating to see since the reasons for her actions are more than mere jealousy. She's apologized for her wrongdoings, it's about time others did so for theirs.

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I've read countless fanfics that had more love and care poured into this story than what the cartoon did. I lost my ability to imagine headcanon about it. But...

7 hours ago, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Luna also disrupted the harmony. (practically and literally)

I think that the cartoon should've invested in this idea. It would've made the whole thing more palatable if things started going wrong was because of that.

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On 1/16/2019 at 9:13 AM, Sepul-Coloratura said:

In 「Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?」 Luna says she felt guilty for all the evil she caused as Nightmare Moon. But we saw her only turning into Nightmare Moon for 5 minutes actually. She might have just felt extra guilty, but for her to make the Tantabus seems a little excessive.

More like 2 or 3 minutes.

I do think that Luna making the Tantabus for what could've happened and to prevent herself from doing something (stupid) sounded reasonable on paper, but the problem I had with the episode is that her guilt wasn't explored. So her self-punishment instead looked arbitrary and, as you said, excessive.

On 1/16/2019 at 9:13 AM, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Luna did something bad more than just five minutes as Nightmare Moon. Even before the final transformation into Nightmare Moon, she slowly turned evil inside. So she did all kinds of stuff and ruled the dream realm as a tyrant, making her fantasies happen. (The Shadowbolts are the creation of her dreams, the result of jealousy of her sister's power.) Ponies suffered from that, but didn't quite understood the deep subconscious changes and the dream realm itself when they were awake, neither did Celestia. So everybody except Luna didn't quite noticed something's been going wrong for a long time.

I would like to think that the flashback in "Princess Twilight Sparkle" was an abridged version of past events, but it's not like the show tried to confirm this.

On 1/16/2019 at 9:13 AM, Sepul-Coloratura said:

Throughout 1000 years of Luna's banishment, ponies didn't had a guide and a protector for the dream realm. They could easily get hurt in there. That also contributed to their growth of fear toward strangers and strange places. That's why ponies showed such an irrational anxiety towards Zecora. (Zecora isn't a subject of Celestia or Luna so she isn't afraid of Everfree Forest.)

Equestria seemed like it turned out fine even though Luna was away for 1000 years, so I don't know if her little dream-walking business was all that helpful, but I'll be generous and assume that the well-being of Equestria improved after she resumed her job. I guess you could count that as headcanon.

I can respect that you have your headcanons, and I have a bit of my own. For example, I'd like to think that Luna had hidden resentment toward her sister for a long time, and things came to a boil after they became royals because the reasons for her resentment became more prominent like the admiration and respect her sister got. Hell, maybe that could even be a case of confirmation bias.

But I'm not giving the show credit for something it didn't do, and I don't think you should, either.

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47 minutes ago, R.D.Dash said:

Sometimes I wonder what so bad to be under Nightmare Moon's hoof? I mean all she did was place Equestria under the eternal night and they seemed to be mostly okay with it

I thought of it too. She might be the best option as a lesder next to Celestia. (except for Cadence) But even there was no life threatening tyranny, the ponies didn't seem to be as happy. (always dissatisfied Rarity, always angry Rainbow Dash etc.) She wasn't ruling equestria by it's founding ideology. Ponies were not pursuing their dreams and wasn't feeling like what they were supposed to be. They didn't have a meaningful life or freedom. I don't even want to know how miserable Pinkie and Fluttershy mighy be in that timeline. Equestria's biggest value is everybody is being happy in harmony, and everybody contributes with their own unique talents that makes them special.

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  • 1 year later...

Here's a headcanon. We don't really know the culture of the pre-Harmony Equestrian Empire. From Stygian's episodes, it seemed to show stuff like peasantry and old medieval or Arthurian prospects. That is why Starswirl is pretty much Merlin. The reason I bring this up is royalty tension was at a upmost high in those days. Perhaps as Luna grew into her teenage to young adult years, her ideals clashed majorly with Celestia's. This could have sowed a seed of resentment and restriction to their relationship already. That probably led to their feud. Not to mention, the Royal Problem episode shows that Celestia just can't seem to understand Luna's problems, even when expressed. She also didn't seem like she would be interested in finding a solution to Luna's problem in the first place.

Now, people assume by the way Luna talks that she remembers being Nightmare Moon completely. While I do think that NMM is pretty much Mr. Hyde (the one from the original story which was just an exaggeration of Dr. Jekyll's true feelings), I don't think she remembers much like the comics say. She could easily just have read up any history book and read the tales of NMM. Which begs the question, did Luna actually spread darkness for a bit before being Nightmare Moon?

There is two possibilities:

Luna did do some bad stuff pre-NMM and the history distorted it linking it to her form, possibly Celestia's report on the situation was skewed towards her sister. This would put Celestia in a better spot, despite basically murdering her sister for ten centuries. I doubt this as motivations and the thousand year gap before she returns is sketchy. Celestia also doesn't seem like she actually learned anything from it with how recent episodes portray her.

However, the more realistic possibility is that Luna didn't do any of that and only attacked her sister as NMM, corrupted by the nightmare. Her history was skewed either by the paranoia of the peasantry or by the resentful but mournful Celestia so she could keep order and quell rebellions. I mean, she basically accused her sister of treason and eliminated her in private. Instead of putting in the effort to find a solution, she took the slight that NMM gave her and ignored her to focus on raising Equestria to be a solid country. Note that Celestia was the only one visible during the castle fight, so she is probably the keeper of information of that night. This is classic Hamilton vs Burr situation where the one who lives regrets it in the moment, but doubt and anguish only festers with time since Celestia had to clean up the mess it left for the country as well as govern day and night. I mean, when you're gone, Who Tells Your Story?

The thousand year gap only supports this claim as it seems Lauren Faust hinted that Celestia, since she governed the stars after Luna was incapacitated, she released Luna to fight Twilight. This may seem better late than never (which it is not), but from Season 1-9, Celestia has only thought of testing Twilight. I doubt she expected Twilight to purify her as the Elements hasn't worked like that before, otherwise Celestia would have thought to express that with Stygian. I am pretty sure Celestia wanted Twilight to "kill" her since she thought that NMM was just the ghost of her sister and probably wanted to get rid of all that guilt looming over her head every night. 

It doesn't seem like she was active on researching ways to remedy the Nightmare and Luna seemed pretty apologetic as soon as she was freed, despite not really learning anything about sisterly bonds from the Twilight fight. Also, if Nightmare Moon really did meddle with Equestria like Nightmare Muffin said, I don't think Equestria would have the culture it has and Twilight would have noted that in the show. There didn't seem to be any NMM cults as well. Also there was probably a lack of villains as Celestia is by no means strong in the show. It didn't seem like there was a culture of urgency other than local problems like snoring dragons.

Conclusion: Celestia probably only thought as a Princess would as she matured and close to her retirement started to loosen up as well as tried to find a replacement. This makes sense as we don't hear of any more private students except for Sunset Shimmer, a student in the same century. This entails her fudging the history records for her countries gain as the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few in her eyes. Resentful and a lot on her plate with the country, she decides not to step down as princess as she was raised like this and doesn't want to bestow the horrors of the job to someone else or something like that. She also doesn't have time to research a way to free her sister and the time skip only gave her the impression that her sister was fully gone anyways. To abolish her guilt stamped on the moon, she summons Nightmare Moon and sicks Twilight on her to end her for good, but miraculously purifies her sister. They reform a kinship now that she is more open in her later years, Luna only learns about NMM from what Celestia and the tales tell her, Luna hurts herself on the falsities, Celestia keeps the truth away to not disrupt anything, and Celestia continues to have a problem with figuring out her sister probably long after the final season. The End, Celestia wins and is never punished. This is probably not what Faust had intended, but it fills most of the holes in the story for now. 

Keep in mind, I am a huge Luna fan and a Celestia hater so this does have some malice in this, but I tried to reason out the events of each Luna episode. From a historical and psychological analysis of the character and Tolkien-esque environment, this just makes the most sense to me.

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